NHL announces dates, times for first round of Playoffs

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NHL announces dates, times for first round of Playoffs
NHL announces dates, times for first round of 2010 Playoffs
The first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs is officially set with matchups, dates and times, the National Hockey League announced Sunday night. Four series begin Wednesday, three more on Thursday and the final opening series starts Friday.

Wednesday night's games will feature the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins at home against the Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET), while San Jose, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, hosts the young, upstart Colorado Avalanche (10:30 p.m. ET).

Last year's Western Conference champ, Detroit, will travel to face another unexpected playoffs participant, the Phoenix Coyotes, in a second Western series that opens Wednesday (10 p.m. ET). Earlier that day, the Eastern series between the No. 2 seed New Jersey Devils and division rival Philadelphia Flyers begins at the Prudential Center in Newark (7:30 p.m. ET).

On Thursday, the Washington Capitals, winners of the League's Presidents' Trophy for most points in the 2009-10 regular season, will open Thursday against the historic Montreal Canadiens franchise (7 p.m. ET). Boston travels to Northeast Division winner Buffalo in the other Eastern Conference series that drops the first puck Thursday (7 p.m. ET). Out West, Vancouver and Art Ross Trophy winner Henrik Sedin (112 points) welcome the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday (10 p.m. ET).

The final series begins Friday when the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks, host division rival Nashville (8:30 p.m. ET)

Only one of eight first round series matchups were decided going into Sunday's games. All four Western series fell into place once the Red Wings' Brad Stuart scored an overtime winner in Chicago, but the Eastern Conference puzzle didn't finalize until New Jersey beat the Sabres, 2-1, to secure second seed in the Eastern Conference.

For the complete schedule of teams, dates and times for the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, CLICK HERE.
Quote of the Day

For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.

— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday
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